How alpha do you like your heroes? If your favorites are uber-dominant types, do they inhabit a sub-genre that expects or requires that behavior?
In my reading life I greatly enjoy alpha male asshattery. There are provisos: obviously the asshat in question must be a good guy deep down, he must have brains and a sense of humor, and he must be enlightened enough to respect and enjoy being challenged by a heroine who’s his equal and maybe even stronger.
Even with those provisos met, though, most of my favorite heroes indulge in the kind of high-handed, obnoxious behavior that I would find totally unacceptable in real life. It’s been on my mind this week, because I’m in the first draft of a new story and I’m gradually filling in all sorts of details about my hero. As I’m writing contemporary romance, it’s closer to home, and I’m finding it tricky to get the balance right. I found it a struggle with the previous book, too: after reading my opening scene from an early draft (a McDaniel College romance writing assignment), Jenny Crusie said she’d keep reading, but only in the hope that my hero, Ian, would get hit by a bus. Continue reading
Do your characters judge others by reading their eyes? Do you make the most of this important behavior? And do you get the details right?
This week, I’ve been taking a cold, hard look at the way I write about eyes. Not so much eye color or appearance – I’m not talking twin pools of emerald, though obviously the reader needs a degree of physical description to help them build mind pictures – but eyes as the key to a character’s thoughts, emotions and responses.
It’s hardly new news that eyes are important. They’re the primary means by which humans receive information, and according to body language expert Joe Navarro: “The eyes can be very accurate barometers of our feelings because, to some degree, we have very little control over them.” The eyes are a very honest part of our face, which is why poker players, secret service agents and rock stars cover them with dark glasses.
It’s instinctive for us to Continue reading